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Guest B1900 Mech

How bored do you get?

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This one is for all the real-life-long-haul pilots out there. I know the old saying is something like, "several hours of boredom punctuated by several minutes of sheer terror", but what do you actually do while George is flying the plane & you're just along for the ride? I'm not trying to be smart or anything, I just want to know what the "procedure" is. Do you sit there scanning for aircraft & checking the instruments the whole time or can you just sit back, relax, and read a book or something?On the longer simulated flights I've flown I increase distance compression & keep a close eye on the situation because everything is moving by so much faster. But in the interest of doing things more realistically should I really be sitting there staring out into a sea of clouds & scanning my instruments? What do you do?Thanks!

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Crossing the oceans..I click to "map" and move my aircraft; water's all the same.

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I'm not a real life pilot, but as far as I understand, long haul flights in real life are not as uneventful as they tend to be in FS. We (FS pilots) tend to just set the autopilot and leave it be.On a real flight going between Europe and America for example the pilots will be more busy than we are: They will make position reports to ATC crossing 20W, 30W, 40W, and 50W over the Atlantic. They have to make sure that if their estimate for a specific position changes with just a minute or two, they have to advise ATC. They also have to write down the actual time over waypoints, fuel burn, etc. (although this is automated in some aircraft). They use HF radio, and sometimes an aircraft might not be able to pick up ATC on the radio. In that case another aircraft can relay the information to ATC. The pilots have to make sure that they are aware of the weather at the destination and alternate airports, and should it go below minima they have to be on top of the situation. The flight may be re-routed, so the pilots (I mean the F/O) will be busy entering calculating the new route.I'm not saying they never get bored, just that there is a little more to it than just setting George to fly the plane.Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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Martin,I have to disagree thereIMHO,nowadays,pilot in modern aircraft (like the newer Boeings and most Airbusses) have much more a monitoring function than it used to be.e.g.: on a trans-atlantic route,position reports are often automated (electronically),so the pilots don't have to do that anymore.also,they often have SELCAL.this will give warning when on HF when ATC wants to talk to them on a trans-)atlantic,so they don't have to be listening to the HF all the timereroutes is just a matter of changing some data in the FMC,can be done in a matter of seconds,...regards,Seba

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I can only speak from ancient experience. Thirty years ago I was involved in fighter drags across the pond. We would follow a KC135 tanker across the ocean. The tanker would do the navigation for us. All we did was fly in loose formation and come up every hour or so for a drink of JP-4.It did get tiring. Once you had eaten the last of your flight lunch and stared at the ocean for hours you got tired. . My butt use to go from being tired, to sore to painful to numb in a matter of a few hours. We use to get little pills to keep us alert. I took them toward the end so I would be alert for the approach and landing.

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Hmmm, Seba, Doesn't quite work like that.....One thing that the real world and sim pilots have in common is computers. And what we like to happen vs what really happens inside the little circuit boards are totally different at times. To monitor is only a small part, to be ready is a much bigger part.Autopilots-We turn them off for a moment about every thirty-forty minutes to see (well, feel) if they are masking something in the behavor of the plane. (Roselawn Indiana)SATCOM is a nice feature when it works and if the aircraft is equipted for ACARs/SATCOM. Working HF is an art, not like VHF. Position reports are a bear at times, and then you may have to relay reports for other airplanes as well if the atmospherics are totally goofy.And over the South Pacific we may have to give the same position reports to different stations like Manila, HCM. Also we may also have to read "permit numbers" to overfly some countries that have to be verified before we enter their ADIZ. Mess that up and it could be a LONG afternoon.Enroute besides HF we will keep 121.5 up on listening watch, and also 123.45 for unofficial enroute chatter unless a check-airman is aboard. Then there is the rule never let the aircraft arrive at a point that you haven't been ten minutes earlier. There is always some mental gymnastics that has to be done. Even if the answer is on the little green screen I'm not betting my life that it is correct. Gotta compare the actual with the plan, then see why their is a difference.Also rarely is a flight the same as before-there is always something new to be evaluated and added to the mix. Situational awareness is key to flying safely and to let boredom and complacency overcome a crew is killer. We may look bored, but the good pilots seldom are.Timothy

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>Autopilots-We turn them off for a moment about every >thirty-forty minutes to see (well, feel) if they are masking >something in the behavor of the plane. (Roselawn Indiana) This is news to me. Is this a specific procedure for your airline, or is it common?BTW, do you have the "crew alertness monitor" - that generates EICAS messages after a certain time when the pilots haven't pushed any buttons or switches - installed on the aircraft you fly? If yes 1) Is it irritating? 2) Does it ever get to generate any advisories/cautions/warnings, or are you busy enough to keep it silent?Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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obviously there is a major difference between Europe and the States.Turning the AP off about every 30-40 minutes?I think here in Europe pilots are as much as possible encouraged to fly on the automatics.now,with the implementation of RVSM in most part of Europe,pilots will even (have to)fly on the AP even moreI just saw another flightdeck video from Manchester to Orlando.The pilot handflew the aircraft to something right before thrust reduction altitude.Then the AP was engaged till he had a good visual on the runway in Orlando.Tim,I agree 100% with what you said,I think I forgot that,sorry :) so probably everything depends on airline procedures,distance,and maybe even the aircraft itself?I suppose you fly more on automatics with an A320 than with a 727?regards,Seba

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>obviously there is a major difference between Europe and the >States.Turning the AP off about every 30-40 minutes?I think >here in Europe pilots are as much as possible encouraged to >fly on the automatics.now,with the implementation of RVSM in >most part of Europe,pilots will even (have to)fly on the AP >even more I don't think Tim meant that they turned off the AP for long periods of time. Rather, every 30-40 minutes, you turn off the AP, check to ensure it is not compensating for a bad situation (ice buildup, rudder problems masked by AP trim, etc), and then turn it back on. Probably doesn't take long to feel the plane and return it to George.This may in fact be a carrier procedure that isn't universal (even in the US), but I think it sounds quite prudent. It cannot hurt to double-check the AP from time to time. You can never be too safe. Even in RVSM, I would think any pilot qualified to fly an airliner would be able to hold altitude (within RVSM limits) and heading for a couple minutes. Heck, even I can do it in a C172 on a hot, bumpy day for that long and I only have about 70 hrs.

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Hmmm, didn't know GB Shaw flew. The practice of getting the feel for the aircraft by disconecting the AP is personal practice, commonly found on my carrier. During General Refresher (our annual class on flying related stuff) the section on "events" hit the Roselawn accident quite heavily and made an impression on the Captains present.As far as the practice is concerned it is just a few moments to feel what the airplane is doing. Doesn't matter if we are mid Atlantic or over Colorado-just like to get the feel.The 727 (the best airliner to actually hand-fly in my humble opinon) was on A/P during the arrival sequence. Prior to FMS and such stuff the work-load was high trying to follow STARs, company comunications, traffic and ATC I'd use A/P I guess with the KC-135 crew doing all the thinking my brain would get tired too.Timothy

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